Between countless episodes of “Millionaire Matchmaker” and “19 Kids and Counting,” I was starting to feel like I would never find anyone. Well, anyone without a graphic tee collection or 18 brothers and sisters. Anyway, I decided to use this as motivation to check out another dating site, so I started a Mate1 review.
There’s something to be said for an online dating service that puts the word “mate” right in its domain, which is partly why I decided to dive head first into a Mate1.com review. Mate1 claims to have over 20 million members and is rated by Neilson to be one of the “top 5 popular online dating sites on the planet,” which is certainly nothing to sneeze at. I hadn’t seen a lot of press surrounding the site thus far and was having some trouble finding reviews online, so I was excited to dig into Mate1’s assertions more, and to begin an my very own Mate1 review.
I instantly had the feeling that Mate 1 is a little less about romance and a little more about, well, mating than some of the other big dating websites like Match.com, True.com and especially eHarmony. Maybe it was the scantily clad blonde staring longingly back at me from the login page or perhaps it was the sparse slogan, “Find someone” (anyone, really… just a warm body) that Mate1.com is currently using. Either way, the login page knew my location and it claimed I could begin my search for no cost. I have a soft spot for free online dating, so I was sold. Not literally, of course, since it was…free. But sold in the sense… you get it.
Come On In:
I entered in my basics: woman seeking man, my age, location, and email address and chose a username. It wasn’t helping Mate1’s matchmaking-for-love case that the username they suggested for me was “skinnybunny69.” Subtle.
After hitting submit was told that over “2000 members” were available in my area. Well, hot dog! That’s like, 6 bars full! I entered in some more info, including my “nickname,” then met another screen telling me I could enter after filling out another mini profile. At this point, although I was kind of sick of filling out info screens, I was invested so I stayed. Point for you, Mate1.com! The last step asked me to upload a photo, but I found a loophole in the “Finish Profile Later” button.
Either way, my matches looked promising! The thumbnails did not feature very much info, just whether or not the guy had more photos and when he joined the site. Next to the (might I say, pretty decent) mens’ photos were options to Chat, Email, Flirt, or Hotlist. I clicked on View All Matches and was shown some more man mug shots, so to speak. I was impressed by the diversity in both ethnicity and age of the men Mate1 found for me.
The first thing I noticed when reviewing Mate1.com was how busy the design on the site was. There were banners everywhere, and it was a bit difficult to tell what was part of the dating service and what was an ad. Another revelation was that the slogan had suddenly changed to “Mate1.com – intimate dating” which was again, subtle (insert sarcasm here). There weren’t a ton of navigation tabs but I did find several places to alter my search criteria, which I did to make my location broader. It’s probably important to note that as with all of my dating site reviews, I set my location to Charlotte, North Carolina, a city of about 1.6 million. I know from experience that there are tons of young local singles here looking to meet people, so I figure it’s as good a place as any to start.The good news was that within my age and location range, I had over 10 pages of matches with around 20 personal ads per page. The bad news was the men I was seeing didn’t exactly tickle my fancy, if you catch my drift. They seemed a bit seedier and more leering than some of the other singles groups I’d come across on other sites, but hey, maybe that’s what some people are looking for when dating online. Although I wasn’t overwhelmed with the quality of the guys, the sheer quantity made up for it. I could have spent a couple of hours just pouring over photos and profiles, some of which were quite entertaining (“looking to meet girls online for hot chat or hook ups” – wow, Romeo, you had me at ‘hot chat’.)
I noticed about 10 thumbnail photos of attractive, young (ish) men. One was in the banner ad at the top promoting “Free communication week!” while several were clearly the results of my search. The last was a second banner ad, telling me to get more emails by filling out an “essay?” I’m sorry, what? An essay? I thought I was getting a boyfriend, not a GED.
I poked around a while, and figured out what some of the other offerings of the site were all about. The “Hotlist” turns out to just be a…list. You populate it yourself when you find someone you like – by clicking on their Hotlist button, you add them to your list which you can revisit later. Flirting is pretty similar to Facebook poking. By Flirting with someone, you pretty much are just saying “hey, you’re not terrible looking and your profile photo wasn’t terrifying…” At that point, the ball’s in the other person’s court, really. Unless you just want to Flirt incessantly until they eventually block you. Not that I would know anything about that.
So if most dating sites are Lady Gaga, Mate is…Taylor Swift. Other than these features, there’s not a whole heckuva lot to Mate One. It’s very simple in its execution which, depending on who you ask, is either a positive or a negative. Having just come from my Lavalife account, I felt a little shell shocked by the lack of tools on Mate.com, but hey, maybe that’s a good thing. Less distractions mean more time for actual human interaction, which is, afterall, why we’re all here. Here as in “poking around on the internet for sexy photos of other people” not here like “on this planet.”
Show Me the Money
So here’s where this Mate1.com review struck gold. I realized that I hadn’t seen an option anywhere to be a member, so I started digging around. Try as I might, I could not find a single way to pay Mate 1 for their services – highly unusual. So I did a little experiment. I went back through the whole process and signed up like I was a man… BINGO. Turns out, if you’re a man, Mate1.com wants you to pay to become a member, which means having access to all the messaging features women have for free. What Mate offers for men is a 3-day trial for only a couple of dollars which then automatically carries over into a monthly membership. The monthly rate is somewhat high (around $50) compared to other sites, but the page where men are asked to sign up is rife with pictures of beautiful women, pleading with their eyes. Excellent marketing, all in all.
I liked Mate1, for both its ease of use and for its, well, freeness. What the site lacked in bells and whistles it made up for in professionalism and subtle hints at sexuality. It truly seems like a good place to actually communicate with people rather than play with buttons, which is more than I can say for some sites. Although in today’s age of 14 second attention spans, it’s hard to say whether or not… I’m sorry, what were we talking about?
While there were certainly allusions to the seedy underbelly of dating online, for the most part, the dating services offered by Mate 1 were just like any other free local dating platform, just perhaps with a slightly different clientele. Some of the most “important” findings from my online dating review were:
- Mate1.com is not a matchmaker. They have no stock invested in scientifically pairing you with single people…they just lay the goods out there and let you make your own decisions.
- Once you get bored sifting through the singles offered there’s not a whole heck of a lot to do on Mate1 as it doesn’t have as many extra features as some other online dating sites.
- If you play your cards right, Mate1 can basically become a free dating site for you. Just choose your timing carefully and decide which features you really can live without access to.
Mate.com is like the Robert Pattinson of online dating. Sly, mysterious, and kind of boring at its core, but hey, you didn’t come here for glamour, you came here to meet singles (with or without a British accent), right? If you’ve got some patience and a strong stomach, I recommend you give the Mate1.com dating site a shot. At least for me, it can’t really get any worse than the high-brow patrons at my local watering hole. Maybe just stay off Mate 1 until after midnight? That tactic usually helps me shed a few unreasonably high standards.